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Welcome to the Mechwarrior Living Legends Combat guide. This tutorial will lead you through many aspects of combat in MWLL. Here you will find essential information and various hints regarding combat, though for more specific instructions, such as Heat Management or Electronic Warfare we encourage you to read other articles and browse the Wiki.
MWLL combat is, unlike in other games, as much about damaging enemy equipment as it is about getting kills. Damage inflicted translates to points and Cbills, with additional bonuses for destroying components, the vehicle itself, and its pilot. Scoring kills isn't worth a large amount of points, but is still important. Battle Armor can do considerable damage over time with the proper equipment if left unabated, and killing the pilot of a Mech with a destroyed cockpit component immediately eliminates it from the battlefield unless someone decides to get in it afterward, at which point they become another walking kill.
Armor, Accuracy, Damage
Nearly every target (exception being BAs and base defense turrets) have multiple components, each with separate armor. To destroy a unit at least one critical component needs to be destroyed. The critical components are:
- For Mech:
- Center Torso and Back Torso
- For Vehicle:
- Hull (which can only be destroyed by first destroying the armor plating protecting a specific hitbox)
- For VTOL:
- Body, Engine
- For Aerospace:
- Body, Engine
All the other components play an additional role. Destroying them will weaken but not destroy the vehicle in question. Tanks can drive without a turret, though any more damage to the turret will be redirected to all its other components. Aerospace with a wing shot off will remain in the air for as long as it takes for gravity to pull it down to the ground, though the pilot loses control over it. A Mech missing one of its legs will tumble to the ground, making it an easy target. A legged Mech can still rotate its torso, use Jump Jets, and - should it still be facing them - shoot at its opponents.
The fastest way to destroy your target is to deal as much damage as possible to one of its key components. This allows quick removal of opponents and high score rewards. If possible aim for a Mech's back torso, as there is next to no armor in that area. A single well-placed Heavy Gauss round is often enough to do the job. Spreading damage around can be useful too, as a disarmed or legged Mech is effectively removed from combat and indeed these parts have little armor, but this is often riskier. For instace, destroying the right torso of an HGauss-equipped Hollander renders it entirely defenseless, while removing either arm of a Novacat can cut its firepower in half. Legging is generally looked down upon, however, as it is seen as a dishonorable tactic. Finally, the coveted headshot. A single hit of any kind to a destroyed cockpit kills the pilot, leaving the Mech intact (assuming the Mech was intact when the pilot was killed). It can then be used by anyone willing to use it, but they will be a walking instant kill for their enemy.
Weapons are named using a relatively simple schema. Every weapon symbol is an abbreviation from its longer name, with prefixes and numbers indicating damage potential or number of missiles fired.
- AC - AutoCannon - Can be compared to Tank shells (AC20) or large Machine Guns (AC2 is 30mm gun). An AC20 will fire very slowly, and have little ammo, but do a huge amount of damage over a wider radius. Conversely an AC2 will fire quickly, have lots of extra ammo but do a small amount of damage. AC2s and AC5s fit well into the niche of anti-air and anti-personnel weapons, but are subject to overheating.
- U - Ultra - Launches two shells with one firing.
- R - Rotary - Extremely high rate of fire, but with a wider spread. They overheat fast.
- LBX - Lubalin Ballistics-X - A shotgun-like weapon that does more damage at shorter ranges.
- Gauss Rifle - A weapon that fires magnetically accelerated slugs. It functions much like a sniper rifle, dealing very high damage to one point, but carries comparatively little ammo.
- BL - Beam Laser - Fires a constant laser beam for around a second. Requires precise aiming as long as beam lasts. Larger lasers are more powerful, generate more heat, and have slower refire rates.
- PL - Pulse Laser - Fires a short burst of laser blasts. Does more damage over the coarse of one burst than a beam laser, but generates more heat and is harder to use.
- PPC - Particle Projection Cannon - A long range, precise weapon. It is less damaging than a Gauss rifle, but adds heat to the target. Cockpit hits with this weapon interfere with infrared vision.
- ER - Extended Rage - long range variant of all asset-mounted energy weapons (Beam Lasers, Pulse Lasers, PPCs) These have increased range and damage, but also heat production.
- SRM - Short Range Missile - High damage output per missile, but with very short range. These are unguided.
- S - Streak - Guided variant of SRMs. Example: SSRM6
- Dual - Mounts two launchers on a single hardpoint: for example, a dual SSRM6 will fire 12 missiles per salvo.
- MRM - Medium Range Missile - Highest total damage output of all missiles, but requires player to guide them using his/her crosshair.
- LRM - Long Range Missiles - Guided missiles with minimum range of 300 meters and maximum lock-on at 1000 meters.
- E - Extended Range - Variant of the LRM capable of acquiring lock up to 1,500 meters. Example: ELRM15
Each of the above weapons may have the C prefix, standing for the Clan variant - usually being more powerful at the cost of additional heat or reload time.
There are several weapons not listed here that, because of their uniqueness, do not follow the prefix-abbreviation-number convention. They can be found in the full list of available weapons.
The important thing when buying a unit is knowing its weapons' advantages and disadvantages (or at least its optimal range) and using it toward victory. An opponent, especially an experienced one, will try to use the disadvantages of your unit - if your main weapons are LRMs, they will try to come as close as possible, while if your weapons are best at short range, he will stay as far as his weapons allow- so knowing what area your unit is best will be essential for its survival.
Movement and maneuvering on the battlefield is essential to survival on the battlefield. Staying still allows considerably better aim, but gives your opponent control of the situation. They will have an easier time hitting you as well, and can decide from where to approach you.
While under fire try to move as fast as possible, if your Mech is equipped with MASC (activated with [left shift]) you can use it for quick bursts of speed, which is useful for throwing off your enemies' aim. If possible, do not turn your back to your enemy. A Mech's back torso has a fraction of the armor of its front. That said, attempt to shoot your enemies in their back armor whenever possible. Use terrain to your advantage - hills or rocks will cover a retreat should it be necessary. Remember that it is often beneficial to return to your base and repair rather than give your enemy extra Cbills from your death. Unless your weaponry is purely short range, your opponent's weapons are disadvantaged at short range (i.e. LRMs), or terrain necessitates it try not to move in a straight line toward your enemies. Keep in mind the optimal range of your own weaponry, as well.
With the [R] key any unit (with exception of Battle Armor) can switch to and from Passive Radar. In this mode its visibility on enemy radar is reduced by half, while the unit's own radar range is reduced to 300 meters. This has a multitude of uses, such as flanking maneuvers, ambushes, and avoiding artillery fire, and easy approach towards missile campers. Proper use of passive radar can greatly increase your longevity in battle. Perhaps the most important use of passive radar is hiding from Aerospace and Long Toms. Long Toms in particular usually don't visually acquire targets, so running on passive makes you nigh impossible to hit, save by luck or standing near an ally in Active Radar mode. Aerospace Fighters have BHP or BAP which allows them to detect passive targets from distance. Despite this, while flying at a safe distance they would have to be directly above a passive unit and thus would have a hard time safely attacking it without risking a crash.
Pillars of Victory
To sum everything up, there are three pillars of victory. The three most important things you should remember after this guide.
- Aiming - Shoot your enemy's critical components to destroy them, or others to disarm or disable them.
- Weapons - Know how to use them and base your tactics around the ranges your weapons and your enemy's weapons function best at.
- Mobility - When under fire, never stand still. Take advantage of a stationary enemy.